Publisher ready to hire displaced workers

February 11, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - University Press of America is accepting applications for employment and will begin holding job interviews Friday and Saturday at their new location at the former TAB Books/McGraw-Hill complex on Monterey Avenue.

University Press of America President Jed Lyons said the company started contacting displaced McGraw-Hill employees Tuesday for possible employment.

The company also will advertise job openings in local newspapers, he said.

Officials from University Press of America, a publisher of academic books, announced Monday it's relocating all order fulfillment, customer service and credit and collection operations from its offices in Savage, Md., and headquarters in Lanham, Md., to Blue Ridge Summit.

The relocation is expected to provide 200 new jobs and a $4 million annual payroll to the area.

Plans are to start "almost immediately," Lyons said, adding that he expects the company to be fully operational at its new location by May.


The Savage distribution center will be closed and 125 employees will lose their jobs, Lyons said.

The publishing company is retaining its facility in Lanham, Md.

One of the primary reasons for relocating the publishing company from Maryland is because of the existing employee base in the Blue Ridge Summit area, Lyons said.

"I'm ready to go back to work," said Carol Thomas of Blue Ridge Summit, who was one of the last McGraw-Hill employees to leave when the company closed down in August 1996.

Since her last day, Thomas said she's been taking computer courses and plans to apply for a job with the new publisher. Thomas worked in various departments for McGraw-Hill for 15 years.

"I really, really liked my job there," she said.

The 73-acre Blue Ridge Summit site also provides more space for the company and room to grow, Lyons said. The Maryland offices have only 72,000 square feet while the new location has 150,000-square-feet of space, he said.

The company plans to expand the facility in the next three years by building an 80,000-square-foot warehouse that would connect two existing buildings. The expansion is planned to accommodate growth and will be used for storage and other office functions, Lyons said.

Lyons said he found out McGraw-Hill was selling its Blue Ridge Summit center when a friend mentioned it over dinner one night in Washington, D.C.

"It was just one of those really quirky things," Lyons said.

He drove to the facility the next day and realized "everything about it was perfect," including the building, location, and existing employee base, he said.

"The site is designed specifically for the very activities we do every day," Lyons said.

At the time, the company was on the verge of signing a lease agreement for a facility in Columbia, Md.

Officials at University Press of America and McGraw Hill agreed not to disclose the purchase price, Lyons said, although it's estimated to be more than $2.5 million.

University Press of America started in Maryland 22 years ago publishing college text books, Lyons said. The company now produces a range of publications including monographs, reference works, and trade books.

Its subsidiary, National Book Network, is the second largest distributor of trade books put out by independent publishers.

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